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    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    Achebe’s Burial: Artistes, South East Leader Plan To Steal Show

    A special burial committee set up by the Coalition of Artistes and Writers in collaboration with the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, have rolled out a one-week burial programme, which is already threatening to dominate other programmes in the burial of the late literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe.

    Chairman of the committee and National Coordinator of the coalition, Ogbueshi Emma Okocha, said the group was motivated by the fact that most efforts towards his burial were being made to present the icon “just as a professor of English, probably as a writer, a world renowned author but that is not complete.

    “Achebe is an institution that embraces religion, human rights crusading and an anti-genocide fighter. It is a paradox that politicians that he was distancing himself from are now struggling and trying to identify with him when he is dead; these are people he referred to as renegades.

    So we thought about all these and decided that all the different dimensions of Achebe as an institution should be presented by people who knew him.

    “On May 20, we are bringing from Asaba, Demas Nwoko, the world renowned sculptor. He is over 80 years and knew Achebe as a youth growing up in Ibadan. We have Elechi Amadi from Rivers, we have former governor of Anambra State, Jim Nwobodo; they all went to University of Ibadan. We have Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike who is now a traditional ruler in Anambra State; he was in Government College with Chinua Achebe as contemporary.

    These are people who are going to speak of Achebe in our label, ‘Achebe the Unknown.’ “At the colloqium, which will hold on May 18, at the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Prof. Romanus Egudu, author of Calabash of Wisdom and professor of English who was with Achebe at the University of Nigeria is going to speak on ‘Achebe and the need for our people to immortalise him; the need to build an Achebe Centre of World Literature, African Studies and Civilization.

    ’” The burial programmes, he noted, would start on the May 17, with the reincarnation rendition of Okonkwo in the Things Fall Apart by Pete Edochie with the director of that film craft, Mr. Adiela Onyedibia also featuring.

    “There will also be a football match involving Igbo XI and The world at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium. The match will precede an international encounter between Rangers and a Tunisian club.

    “As a titled man, the masquerade cult he belongs to must take part in his burial. That is why we are going to ensure that the masquerades convert the final rites of passage for the icon. What is required is that great masquerades in Igboland will come out form their mysterious underground abodes alongside traditional dances to pay homage to the hero.”
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